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There are many historical man-made structures that point to early civilisations around the world, some of which are still shrouded in mystery.

Zimbabwe has its own such monument in the south-east of the country, and it is called Great Zimbabwe loosely translated to Great Houses of Stone!

Located close to Lake Mutirikwi, south-east of the present-day town of Masvingo, the structures at Great Zimbabwe are the largest, and second-oldest, in sub-Saharan Africa. The monument is around 4 hours from Bulawayo and Harare, and around 8 hours from Victoria Falls.

A Brief History of The Great Zimbabwe

People lived in Great Zimbabwe beginning around 1100 C.E. but abandoned it in the 15th century. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which was a Shona (Bantu) trading empire. Zimbabwe means “stone houses” in Shona.

Great Zimbabwe was part of a large and wealthy global trading network. Archaeologists have found pottery from China and Persia, as well as Arab coins in the ruins there. The elite of the Zimbabwe Empire controlled trade up and down the east African coast. However, the city was largely abandoned by the 15th century as the Shona people migrated elsewhere.

The ruins of Great Zimbabwe were designated a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 1986.

Accommodation Options

Lodge at The Ancient City is an award winning lodge, situated on a granite outcrop close to Great Zimbabwe. It overlooks a valley of Msasa trees and the Great Zimbabwe itself offering the perfect setting from which to explore one of Africa’s most priceless archaeological treasures.

The design and construction of the lodge ensures that it is in harmony not only with its immediate surroundings but that it also captures and reflects the essence of Great Zimbabwe itself. Stone walls arch gracefully over colossal granite boulders; rock monoliths emerge from the retaining walls and everywhere are emblems and motifs of ancient Zimbabwean origin.

The Great Zimbabwe is a great stop on your journey to discovering Zimbabwe’s destinations, check one of our trips around the country that offer a stop the Monument.

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